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Flying Business Class Really Is An All-You-Can-Eat Buffet


doha airport food

DOHA — I'm currently on my way from New York City to Tanzania, where I'll visit "the best hotel in the world" and some lesser-known game reserves in the southern part of the country.

After a 12-hour flight from JFK International Airport, I've spent the last six hours in Qatar Airways' premium terminal at Doha International Airport, and there's almost nothing to do here but eat.

Eating has pretty much been the theme of my trip since I arrived at JFK last night around 9 p.m. It's my first time flying business class, and I'm quickly realizing that one of the biggest differences between a coach ticket and a business class ticket is the food.

First there was the buffet in the Admirals Club at JFK's Terminal 8, which featured everything from roast chicken to pasta salad even though it was nearing midnight by the time I left.

And from the moment I sat down on the first leg of my flight on Qatar Airways, I was plied with food. Dinner, which was served around 1 a.m., was a five-course meal that included an amuse bouche and cheese course. The airline is known for its food and service — it was recently named the world's best airline by Skytrax — but I still didn't actually expect to enjoy the taste of my airplane meal.

buffet admirals club jfkNow I'm Qatar Airways' holding pen for business class travelers, and it's pretty impressive. The expansive room has several seating and rest areas, as well as a business center, kids' playroom, and clinic. There are no blaring speakers, either — an airline employee walks around the entire center and quietly informs travelers every time a flight starts boarding.

But the real highlight of the premium terminal is the food. There are three separate buffet areas, as well as four dessert buffets and a bar. Men in chefs' toques constantly replenish the fare and a waitstaff in suits set tables with linen napkins and serve drinks.

There's a continental buffet with beef stew, a mixed seafood curry, and steamed vegetables. There's also the Oriental Brasserie, where plates of sushi sit alongside salmon falafel and skewered shrimp. 

Nothing I tried at the buffets was outstanding, except for an Asian-style chicken salad, but everything has been good, and piping hot. And it sure beats standard airport fare. 

Scroll down to see some of the dining options in business class. You'll be able to find all my stories about the trip here.

Disclosure: Our trip to Tanzania, including travel and lodging expenses, was paid for by the Tanzania Tourist Board, The Africa Adventure Company and Singita Grumeti Group, and Coastal Aviation.

cheese admirals club jfk

A cheese platter at JFK's Admirals Club

dinner qatar airways

The Arabic Mezze appetizer on Qatar Airways' business class

dinner qatar airways

The halibut and vegetable entree on Qatar Airways

qatar airways doha terminal

Inside Qatar Airways premium terminal at Doha International Airport

sushi doha airport

A sushi platter in the premium terminal

dessert doha airport

One of several dessert buffets at the premium terminal

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